Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. Luke 3:5
I don’t know about you but when I travel the interstate I like to eat at restaurants where I can see the interstate on ramp. I want to be able to get back on the interstate highway where I can resume the way I planned to get to my destination. I have learned that it is easy to get lost when you leave the main highway and are detoured away from the direct and easiest route. I have to admit that in my lifetime I have found myself out in the middle of the boondocks several times by saying I wonder where this road will take me.
The same is true for our lives especially for those who have chosen to follow Jesus Christ and serve him. We find that it is not as easy to follow Jesus as it is to allow the world to detour us away from the Lord. So many things of the world attract and hold our attention using the time we had planned to be with the Lord.
When choosing a destination such as going from Rochester New York to Atlanta Georgia, we place our attention on maps to plan a direct route. For the most part we know how to plan out the things of earth especially when they are the things we want to do. Even the common everyday things like getting your child to bed who wants to stay up all night can distract your attention on things you consider important. To prevent this from happening we need to have a priority of importance that outweighs everything else to make time for God.
This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" Matthew 3:3
The words “prepare the way for the Lord; make straight paths for him." are the words we need to give attention to as they speak of a plan for our Salvation. And for the most part the word straight refers to a direct path we take from this life to heaven. According to the plan mapped out by the word of God is a path that starts at the cross of Jesus Christ.
The American interstate system is planned for direct routes between distant population centers. They are designed for safety and intersect with main roads to make multiple destinations possible. Preparing the way or planning a way for the Lord demands a road clear of obstructions that does not veer to the right or to the left of the planned route. Taking this route has a priority that outweighs everything else.
Paul used several examples of athletes especially of those who ran the race and at least one example of the boxer. The athlete, who ran, ran in such a way to win and the boxer could not expect to be standing at the end of the fight if he didn’t attempt to knock his opponent out. However, Paul said that both went into training and both planned a strategy before the main event. Both knew that veering from the plan would be the reason why they lost.
Paul concluded that just because he was a preacher he had to live the Christian life so he would not be deprived of the prize. How other people live was not his major concern because he was a sinner saved by grace that was going to make every effort get the prize. His goal was to follow Jesus and he had the urgency to exercise his beliefs to become the person that God approved of.
Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27
The Bible instructs men to do the following.
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14
It’s easy to say the road that leads to life is always in front of you until you have to walk it. God uses several ways to explain his plan for the road that leads to life. For example God says,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them. Deuteronomy 28:14
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Joshua 1:7
Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. Proverbs 4:10-13
Our map is the word of God that an exact path to travel but at the same time we understand that Jesus Christ is the way and the truth and the life. And that no one can come to the Father or know him except through Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The straight road to eternal life begins with knowing the true God, and Jesus Christ who was sent into the world as the Lamb of God. Once we have accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts we have the assurance of being on the straight and narrow road.
On the other hand those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior are on a road to destruction. Their road is crooked and leading them in circles and will take them to a destination they hoped to avoid. They are double minded always looking for short cuts, taking perverse and devious ways to arrive at their goals. However, God cannot be avoided and the road they’ve taken ends at eternity’s door with an escort straight to the great white throne.